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I get less done on cloudy days

April 20th, 2011 at 12:50 pm

And today's overcast.

But still, not too bad a day.

I managed to rustle up another focus group for early May, AND get an unemployed friend to qualify too. It's $125 for 2 hours' time. it's a one-hour drive, but I have a Honda and plan not to speed.

Talked to my dad and we agreed to defer his trip up here til possibly later next week. He was going to help me bring a huge pile of brush/tree branches to the landfill with his truck on Friday, but turns out town offices/landfill are closed on Good Friday.

Speaking of the landfill, that was my one outing today. I'm being so careful, or trying to, anyway, not drive if I really don't have to. Gas is over $4 a gallon here now. Incredible, but I hope it turns a lot of SUV drivers into compact car drivers. Better for the environment.

My real estate client is supposed to call me to give me the info I need to write his blog and press release.

The book author is changing gears and has decided to shelf the book I was going to edit. She wants to work on another book and have me edit the 1st 25 pages to entice an agent to take her on, I think. It's a little disappointing. She wants to meet me for coffee and talk about it. Ordinarily I probably wouldn't have the time, but I'm not really all that busy. I met her just one time and have been trading emails with her.

I'm glad she's making progress and all, but I feel totally preoccupied with my own need to find paying work and support myself. Her "journey," as she puts it, is so involved and I don't feel I have the mental energy to get too absorbed by it. But I think I need to make an effort.

I spent a LOT of time yesterday on the vinyl siding issue. Had 2 more siding guys come over. I have a price from 2 guys, am waiting for the 3rd and 4th hasn't been over but we had a real good talk about my siding issues on the phone. So Guy #1 wants to cover over it for $17k. Guy #2 I'm ruling out, he spent very little time here and hardly asked questions. Doesn't seem like he does a lot of it. Guy #3 wants to remove the existing asbestos shingles. Guy #4 also would prefer to remove it, but after being swayed to go along with that, I find myself really wanting to just cover it with the vinyl. It would be a lot cheaper and it's what the state recommends to minimize health risks.

However, the siding guys say it won't look as good if they lay vinyl over it cus it won't be a completely flat surface, plus I wonder if potential buyers of this house down the road wouldn't like the idea of still having the asbestos underneath the vinyl. Or wouldn't they focus on that if they see nice vinyl siding and all the other charms of this house? I don't know. I've posed the question to a realtor I know. I might ask 1 or 2 more realtors the same question to get some good feedback.

My handyman finished the 3 jobs I asked him to do yesterday. He charges $25 an hour, or $200 a day. When I asked him if he thought he could get all 3 jobs done in a day, he said he was pretty sure it wouldn't take him a full day. So he got here at 9:15 am and finished up around 4 pm. That's 6.75 hours in my book. When I asked him what I owed him, i started calculating his 7 hours of time here and he said, no, I'm charging you my day rate, so that's $200 plus materials. I felt like he was ripping me off by charging for a full day's worth of work. I didn't say anything, just paid him. I felt funny about it. I've known him for years, and he's done a lot of work for me. He said he's charging me less than his standard rate. I know he's hurting for money, but he also knows i'm pretty much in the same boat as far as not working full-time. I also had a feeling when he finished up this job as well as when he finished up the other job that he went out into my garage, had a smoke and was just killing time so he could get paid for more time. I don't mind that too much, cus everyone deserves a few work breaks, but the other part about his day rate did bother me. It's my own fault for not questioning that, and i can't really say why I didn't. I guess i've always trusted him to be honest and was just feeling very startled that he was pulling what he did. An example of his honesty: most guys who do work for you will include in their price to you the cost of materials. I assume they estimate it in their head and then pad it quite a bit. Billy doesn't do that. He charges his hourly rate and then goes and buys the materials he needs and GIVES you the receipt so you can reimburse him the exact cost, with no mark-up. I think that's unheard of among most contractors.

So, bottom line, he charged me $25 more than i think i should have paid. I think this is just a good reminder to me not to become too casual or trusting with him and ALWAYS be careful to have him clearly spell out what something will cost, and whether I'm paying him hourly or by the day!

3 Responses to “I get less done on cloudy days”

  1. ceejay74 Says:

    On the first topic: AS forwarded me an email from one of her co-workers that read in part, "I have a cold and don't want to come in." OK, fair enough. But then: "And this snow is really depressing me."

    Uh...uh...you realize you're writing this to an office full of fellow Minnesotans getting snow in late April? OF COURSE it's depressing you, it's depressing all of us.

    So in conclusion, most of us are less productive on cloudy days. But at least you don't call in sick because flurries make you sad! :O

  2. Ima saver Says:

    Even with huge houses, I keep track of every penny and our customers get receipts for every piece of material or subcontractor. My dh works by the hour too, but he tends to get the benefit of his time to his customers. He may be down at Home depot picking up their materials at 9 a.m, but he does not charge until he gets to their house or job site. He won't get home til after 6 but when I write down his hours, he will say, put me down til 5!

  3. My English Castle Says:

    Me too on the sunshine stimulus. And for me, the worst part of editing jobs is all the hand holding with the writers.

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